Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Review: Harold and the Purple Crayon

A Book Review of: 

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (written and illustrated)

Image from barnesandnoble.com

Harold is an imaginative toddler, and he sets out on a creative adventure with nothing but a purple crayon, creating the landscape and drawing new scenarios as he goes. He traverses moonlit paths, creates dragons to guard his home-drawn apple tree, crosses a purple sea in a purple sailboat, climbs a mountain, and then searches for home in a small balloon. After drawing window after window, trying to find his own bedroom window, Harold then remembers that home is where the moon sits outside his window. He draws himself inside his bedroom, and then “draws” the covers up around himself in his own little bed.
Johnson, C. (1983). Harold and the purple crayon. USA: HarperCollins Publishers.


This small book is a classic children’s book because it is the kind that kids can identify with through time. Harold, a creative little tyke, creates his own world uses just his imagination and a single crayon. He is the only character in the whole book, and his inventiveness drives the story. It remains a classic because children want to be the character in their own story, and want to have control of their own scenarios. The imagination is a great place for this, where kids can make anything happen. Parents will appreciate the images Harold creates for himself, and that it encourages imaginative thinking.  Other classics where children and their imagination take center stage, that seem to blur fantasy and reality, that have also become classics for this same reason. Some include: 

Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss (his first picture book!)

Feel free to leave a comment if you can think of any others that could be added to this list!

Outside Reviews: 
[Professional reviews were not available for this book.]

From GoodReads:
"If you are looking for a story that will help your child's imagination run, Harold and the Purple Crayon is perfect. It is a story about a little boy who goes for a walk and creates all he sees and all he does with his magical purple crayon. This story shows kids that they can create their own adventure. I really enjoyed the illustrations because they are simple white pages with only the sketch of Harold and the images that he creates with him purple crayon. I think that children can really relate to the story because every child wants to be able to create their own adventure. They story is a great read for beginning learners and it is a great story to read to your children."
 Walter, K. (2011, September 11). [Review of the book Harold and the purple crayon by C. Johnson]. GoodReads. Retrieved from http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/98573.Harold_and_the_Purple_Crayon
From  Amazon:
"A classic after many years, and deservedly so. Harold creates an adventure--plot, setting, and characters--armed with nothing but the purple crayon with which he draws it, page after page. Simple and enchanting, Harold and the Purple Crayon will be among the most requested in your child's library."
P.,L. (2008, November 16). [Review of the book Harold and the purple crayon by C. Johnson]. Amazon. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Harold-Purple-Crayon-Anniversary-Books/product-reviews.
Uses: This would be a great activity to allow kids to use their imaginations. In a library, you could ask kids to submit drawings of their own adventures just like Harold does with his purple crayon, and then display them publicly on a wall. This would instill a sense of pride in their artistic talents and allow them to use their imaginations and creativity to create their own adventure.

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